Louis van Gaal has hinted of his interest in Tottenham Hotspur, but Cesare Prandelli has no plans to coach in the Premier League anytime soon.
When Andre Villas-Boas was sacked by the White Hart Lane club earlier this season, it was something of a surprise when Tim Sherwood was appointed as his successor. Blackburn Rovers’ 1995 title-winning captain, who was promoted from within the club, signed a deal which is designed to run until the end of next season, but it is widely expected that unless a top-four position is achieved this term, he could be replaced in the summer.
Experienced Dutch coach van Gaal, who is currently preparing the Holland squad ahead of the World Cup Finals, has been mooted as a potential option for Spurs. And whilst the 62-year-old insists he is fully focused on the job which awaits him in Brazil in June, he admits the potential lure of England, and Tottenham, is a strong one.
“I will definitely not be in charge for the Euro 2016 qualification campaign. I don’t know where I will go next,” he is quoted by the Guardian. “Maybe there will come a new challenge. I have said before that a challenge should be a club in the Premier League. That’s a challenge. Maybe Tottenham are coming but, first, we have to go to Brazil.”
Van Gaal won three league titles in his homeland with Ajax and a further one with AZ Alkmaar, and led the Amsterdam club to UEFA Champions League glory in 1995. He also led Barcelona to two Spanish titles, and Bayern Munich to the German Bundesliga. He is currently in his second spell as head coach of Oranje.
Whilst van Gaal appears to be more than interested in what could be on offer at Spurs, the same cannot be said of Prandelli. The former Fiorentina coach has been in charge of Italy since 2010, and led them to the final of Euro 2012 where they were thrashed by Spain. Speaking to TV station Rai, the 56-year-old claimed speculation linking him with Spurs is ‘fantasy football’, and that he is in talks over a new contract with the Azzurri.
Sherwood, meanwhile, was quoted as saying how much he wants to make the UEFA Europa League the first trophy on his managerial CV. This was before the 1-0 defeat in Dnipro on Thursday, which places their progress in the tournament at risk. It is more likely, though, that he will remain in a job if he can lead Tottenham to a top-four finish.
The possibility of him achieving this suffered a blow on Sunday afternoon, when his side fell to a 1-0 defeat at struggling Norwich City. This leaves Spurs six points adrift of the increasingly impressive Liverpool, where they still have to travel to, and Sherwood admits qualifying for the UEFA Champions League is looking a tall order.
“You can’t rely on other people to lose every time and us qualify for the Champions League. It’s not going to happen,” he said. “It looks a big gap and is a big blow to us. We have got to bounce back. We need characters in the dressing room to do that. This is the first setback I have had and we are going to need to be spirited and show what we are made of.”